Southwest Automated Security Inc. – Dallas, Texas

January 31, 2024
Southwest Automated Security Inc. - Dallas, Texas

Southwest Automated Security Inc.

Southwest Automated Security Inc.–Dallas, Texas, USA


Resolute dedication to workforce excellence and innovation

Southwest Automated Security (SAS) is a leader in the security solutions industry, offering gate operators, video surveillance, and access control systems.

The leadership team lays the foundation for Southwest Automated Security’s success, with Jeff Goodwin, President, as a guiding force. Goodwin charts the business’s direction while fostering growth and upholding a steadfast commitment to excellence.

Rick Spence’s Owner-operator and founder role extends beyond historical significance. His visionary contributions continue to shape SAS’s trajectory,

Steve Shain, SAS board member, brings a wealth of expertise and insights and is an integral part of SAS’s accomplishments, enriching the leadership team with valuable perspectives.

Southwest Automated Security’s unique Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) structure is a defining aspect of its philosophy and a credit to its leaders. Being 100% employee-owned, ESOP empowers every team member to play a role in SAS’s achievements. In this dynamic environment, leadership permeates throughout the organization and reflects the collective efforts driving Southwest’s ongoing success.

With strong leadership, a rich history, and a focus on supplying top-tier security products to their clients, Southwest Automated Security is a testament to dedication and vision.

Launched in 1981 in Dallas under the name FAAC of Texas, SAS was an offshoot of Big D Metalworks and focused on gate operators.

Southwest Automated Security Inc. - Dallas, TexasThe ensuing years saw expansion, leading to a tactical rebranding in 1992 as Southwest Automated Security Inc. In 1998, Spence and Goodwin steered the venture out from under the umbrella of Big D and continued to grow the enterprise.

In 2004, Big D relinquished ownership to Goodwin, Spence, and new board member Shain from the Phoenix location. SAS experienced explosive growth under this team and asserted itself as a pioneer in hydraulic operators.

A defining chapter in the company’s history unfolded in December 2011, when the organization embraced a distinctive ownership model. The Employee Stock Ownership Plan made Southwest Automated Security a 100% employee-owned entity, reflecting the company’s unwavering commitment to its team.

An ESOP is a qualified retirement plan providing employees with a stake in Southwest Automated Security. SAS contributes shares to the plan on behalf of members. Participants gain access to the value of the ESOP shares as they accumulate years of service or meet other eligibility criteria.

The plan promotes employee responsibility, aligning their interests with the company’s and fostering motivation and workforce retention. Southwest Automated Security has an annual revenue of $80 million, with 110 out of 152 employee-owners in the program.

The Employee Stock Ownership Plan model has surged in popularity in recent years. One of the primary drivers lies in the tax benefits it offers, applicable to startups and well-established businesses. The U.S. had 6,467 ESOPs in 2020, with 13.9 million participants. The program dispersed $149 billion the same year, with national assets of $1.6 trillion.

Privately held companies account for most ESOPs (5,887), covering 1,934,870 contributors, while publicly traded companies have 580 plans, involving 12,012,795 participants.

ESOPs embody a fundamental shift in the way business owners perceive their biggest asset—their employees—by recognizing the integral role of the workforce in the company’s growth. This wealth transfer aligns incentives and cultivates a profound sense of ownership, fostering a culture of shared success.

Holding a stake in the financial outcomes, personnel become invested in the business’s success, leading to increased motivation, higher productivity, and a stronger commitment to goals.

Implementing an ESOP is a huge undertaking. For Southwest Automated Security, this transition came with its share of challenges, but the business’s dedication to its employees and long-term success helped it overcome these obstacles.

Establishing a plan involves intricate financial arrangements, valuations, and legal processes. SAS collaborated with experienced ESOP consultants and legal experts to navigate the complexities, ensuring transparency and solid communication with workers on economic aspects.

Spence and Goodwin transitioned from sole decision-makers to stewards of employee ownership by involving members in decision-making and seeking input and feedback. Transitioning from a traditional business model requires a cultural shift. Understanding this, SAS organizes educational classes explaining how the ESOP works, its impact on retirement savings, and the alignment of interests between employees and SAS.

Another challenge is members prioritizing short-term gains over long-term success. Southwest Automated Security encourages members to think further than immediate rewards, reinforcing that monetary success directly influences the ESOP’s value,

Ownership status is empowering and motivates individuals to innovate which brings forth novel solutions, streamlines processes, and provides a constant flow of fresh ideas. Participants attend meetings, share ideas, influence strategic choices, and have voices in major decisions that shape the brand’s direction. The autonomy granted is a catalyst for experimentation, with members spearheading positive changes within the organization.

Defining success in an ESOP goes beyond financial metrics. The company established qualitative indicators, such as employee satisfaction, retention, and innovation. Celebrating milestones and sharing success stories reinforce the ESOP’s impact.

SAS’s commitment to transparency, education, and a shared vision paved the way for the successful implementation of the ESOP model. Its achievements exemplify how ownership drives financial prosperity and a positive organizational culture.

Overseeing 19 locations across the U.S., consistent acceleration has marked Southwest Automated Security’s rise, extending its primary focus on gate operators to incorporate a diverse range of products and services.

The company’s 150 vendors are vital in its mission to streamline and advance comprehensive security systems and Doorking stands out among SAS’s key partners. Specializing in comprehensive access control options, Doorking’s products cater to residential, commercial, and industrial environments. This versatility extends to spaces such as apartment complexes, gated communities, and self-storage facilities.

Southwest Automated Security Inc. - Dallas, TexasWithin Doorking’s extensive portfolio are classic telephone entry systems and gate operators. A diverse lineup empowers Southwest to give customized solutions tailored to the unique requirements of different applications.

In the surveillance equipment space, Provision scores for its innovation. It supplies SAS with high-quality cameras, sophisticated video management systems, and analytics tools that contribute to SAS’s robust security offerings. This affiliation ensures SAS stays at the forefront of the developing landscape of surveillance technology.

In the domain of gate operators and garage door openers, the Liftmaster brand is synonymous with reliability and efficiency. Southwest Automated Security integrates Liftmaster products into its security solutions, ensuring access management is secure and streamlined.

Fortifying SAS’s capabilities in gate automation, HySecurity takes the lead as a prominent player in gate operators and barrier systems. Renowned for its robust and durable products, HySecurity provides SAS with the technological backbone for automated gates across various applications. Complementing these vendors, Uni-View excels in control systems, specializing in secure entry, card readers, and biometric devices.

These collaborations reinforce SAS’s goal to deliver reliable and resilient security services and underline the significance of partnerships in the developing automated security landscape.

The future unfolds with promise and innovation for Southwest Automated Systems. Expect progress in gate operators, access control systems, and surveillance equipment as well as integrating with artificial intelligence, machine learning, smart analytics, and enhancing security effectiveness.

SAS is poised to diversify its product portfolio to innovations such as biometrics, facial recognition, and the Internet of Things (IoT). This expansion could widen into emerging areas like smart cities, industrial automation, and home security, signaling a dynamic shift in the company’s offerings.

Environmental consciousness takes center stage as SAS places a heightened focus on sustainability and green solutions. Solar-powered gate operators, energy-efficient systems, and incorporating sustainable materials will gain prominence, aligning with the growing emphasis on eco-friendly options in the industry.

Southwest Automated Security’s global footprint will expand beyond the U.S., marking a shift towards international partnerships. SAS’s expertise positions it as a valuable contributor to security projects worldwide.

As an ESOP company, Southwest commits to empowering its employee-owners. This liberation translates into a culture of innovation, fostering creative problem-solving, and instilling a profound sense of ownership among the workforces.

Southwest Automated Security continues to inspire the automated security sector and its impact is substantial, influencing the industry’s trajectory into an era of modernization and excellence.

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Southwest Automated Security Inc.

WHAT: Industry-leading ESOP in Automated Security solutions with a steadfast commitment to innovation, employee empowerment, and partnerships.

WHERE: Dallas, Texas, USA



CellGate –

CellGate has been providing telephone entry visitor management, access control and integrated camera solutions utilizing cellular and internet network technology since 2006. CellGate’s TrueCloud Connect™ Total Property Wireless Access provides the industry’s only wireless single login system. All CellGate products, functionality and administration including the CellGate app are provided via TrueCloud Connect™ hosted by Microsoft Azure. CellGate offers flexibility found in no other access control or monitoring solution. Visit to learn more.

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January 2024 cover of Business View Magazine

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